Biennial herbaceous plant up to 180 cm tall. The root is fleshy, slightly branched, up to 60 cm long. The stem is erect, ribbed, reddish, strongly branched in the upper part. The leaves are petiolate, the lower ones are large, gradually decreasing up the stem, broadly cordate-ovate, serrated along the edge, green above, gray tomentose below. The flowers are collected in spherical baskets located in corymbs or corymbose panicles at the ends of the stem and its branches. The involucre of the baskets is naked, green, from tiled linear, rigid, hooked incurved leaves. Basket receptacle slightly convex, densely planted with subulate bracts. All flowers are tubular, bisexual, with a lilac-purple corolla; cup in the form of a crest; stamens five, pistil with lower ovary, filiform column and two linear stigmas. The fruits are achenes with a tuft. Blooms in July-August. The fruits ripen in August-September.
Burdock is common in the forest-steppe and steppe, less often in the forest zones of the European part of Russia, in the Caucasus, in Central Asia; less common in Siberia and the Far East. It lives in weedy places, wastelands, roadsides and fields, near dwellings.
Medicinal raw materials in scientific medicine are the roots, in folk medicine – the root, leaves, inflorescences, fruits-seeds.
Burdock cobweb, or felted, is more common than large burdock, but differs little from the latter in botanical and medicinal properties. Both types of burdock grow in damp places, within dwellings, in vegetable gardens, along roadsides, in fields, and in gardens.
The root is harvested in autumn or early spring (before the leaves appear). The dug roots are washed off the ground in cold water, dried in dryers. Even better (in order to preserve the maximum of healing properties), do not wash the root, but dry it a little, clean it with a brush, and then, cutting it along, dry it in a dryer, oven or oven, but not in air to avoid rapid fermentation. Store in a dry place up to 5 years. The roots of the second year of life are used. The smell is weak, peculiar, the taste is sweetish, with a feeling of mucus.
The polysaccharide inulin, proteins, fat, essential oil, palmitic, stearic acids, sitosterol, stigmasterol, tannins and bitter substances were found in burdock roots. The leaves contain tannins, essential oil and mucus, vitamin C. The seeds contain arctiin glycoside.
Infusion and decoction of the roots have a diuretic and diaphoretic effect. The root extract improves the composition of blood and urine in patients with gout while improving the clinical status. The second fraction of plant alkaloids, obtained by electrodialysis, showed a distinct activity in relation to tumor growth inhibition.
As a diuretic and cleansing agent, a decoction of burdock root is successfully used for diseases of the genitourinary organs, sometimes in combination with other diuretics. In particular, in the treatment of diabetes, the root is combined with bean pods and blueberry leaves in equal amounts.
In folk medicine, the root finds wide and versatile applications: for kidney stone disease, diabetes and rheumatism, cancer, skin cancer, dropsy, hemorrhoids, rickets and scrofula, constipation, also for poisoning with mercury products and bites of poisonous insects and animals (snakes), with venereal diseases, aching joints, gallstone disease.
In folk medicine, the whole plant is used: a decoction of burdock inflorescences is drunk as tea for cancer, the roots insist on vodka and drink 1 tbsp. spoon for cancer; the roots are rubbed on a grater, boiled with butter, raw egg yolk is added, used for cancer; the same mixture lubricates the areas affected by skin cancer. For the treatment of rheumatism, burdock root is best combined with elecampane root.
For rheumatism and metabolic disorders (skin rash), it is recommended to use a decoction of burdock root not only inside, but also externally as a warming compress on the entire body. This method of treatment is especially effective for chronic eczema and persistent chronic rheumatism.
A decoction in milk is given to children with diathesis, skin tuberculosis, compresses from fresh leaves are made for rheumatism, joint tumors, and any tumors.
A decoction of the leaves of small burdock, collected during flowering, is drunk as a tea for malignant tumors, cataracts, warts, wounds, scrofula, liver diseases, and fever.
A decoction of the root is drunk for venereal diseases and from tangles. Burdock root has both general and local effects on human tissues. It improves metabolic processes in them, therefore it is widely used in diseases associated with impaired salt metabolism and salt deposits, stone formation, gout, osteochondrosis, urolithiasis, cholelithiasis, stones in the pancreas.
Externally, burdock is used for hair growth and to combat hair loss, for chronic wounds, headache (apply fresh leaves to the head), skin itching, neurodermatitis, eczema, urticaria, acne, furunculosis, lichen, sunburn, stings of poisonous snakes, bees, os.
In all cases, the use of fresh burdock (for example, root, leaves) is more effective.
Decoction 1: 2 tbsp. tablespoons of dry crushed root are poured with 3 cups of water at room temperature, insisted for 2-3 hours, put on the stove, brought to a boil, boiled for 10-15 minutes, filtered, taken inside warm, 1/3-1/2 cup 2-3 times after eating with kidney stone and cholelithiasis, stones in the pancreas.
Decoction 2: 15 g of root per 200 ml of water, insist after brewing for 20 minutes, cool, strain and drink 1 tbsp. spoon 3-4 times every day before meals. This decoction is also used to regulate the activity of the gastrointestinal tract.
Decoction 1 is drunk in an increased dose of 1 glass per single dose. In these cases, the conditions of admission are strictly observed. The patient is put to bed, wrapped warmly, after which, after about 30-40 minutes, he sweats profusely – with colds (diaphoretic).
Decoction 3: 5 tbsp. tablespoons of dry crushed root per 1 liter of water at room temperature, bring to a boil and boil over low heat until half of the water used to prepare the decoction remains. Add sugar to taste and honey – 3 teaspoons. Take 2-3 tbsp. spoons (diuretic).
Fruit decoction: 20 g per 200 ml; prepared and consumed as a light decoction of the root (laxative).
Root decoction 4: 1:10, for skin itching, neurodermatitis, eczema, urticaria, acne, furunculosis, lichen, sunburn, stings of poisonous snakes, bees, wasps.
With the same diseases, infusions of dry leaves and inflorescences are used, prepared at the rate of 1 tbsp. spoon on a glass of boiling water, boil for 5 minutes, cool, filter and apply gauze moistened with infusion to the affected surface. Local baths for hands and feet are made from the same infusion: a glass of infusion is poured into a bath with a capacity of 3-5 liters. The duration of the bath at a temperature of 20 degrees – 15-20 minutes.
For long-term non-healing ulcers, apply topically: 50 g of fresh crushed roots are poured with 2 cups of sunflower oil, insisted for 24 hours, then boiled for 15 minutes. Store in a dark cool place. Apply a layer on gauze and apply to the affected surface.
Ointment from root 1: thicken decoction 2 (roots) described above by boiling to half, mix in half with pork internal fat (by heating), pour into a pot, cover with a lid, cover it with dough, and put in the oven or oven for several hours; drain the water from the cooled thickened mass (if it has not all evaporated). Ointment is a good remedy for growing hair.
Note. Fresh burdock juice is much more effective than decoction of dry roots.
Ointment from the root 2: from the decoction of the root (4 tablespoons to 4 cups of boiling water), also condensed, take 1 part to 4 parts of butter and mix. The ointment is effective for burns.
Ointment from burdock leaves (compound): dried burdock leaves – 20 g, chamomile flowers – 20 g, hoof root – 20 g, fireweed herbs (willow tea) – 20 g. The mixture is boiled in 4 glasses of water, then add 1 tbsp. a spoonful of butter and 2 cups of a strong decoction of hay dust and boil again until the density of a viscous sticky mass (preferably in the so-called water bath); after filtering and squeezing, mix equally with glycerin. This ointment gives brilliant results.
A method for the treatment of chronic eczema: a decoction of burdock root (15 g per 200 ml), 1 tbsp. spoon 4 times every day before meals.
For external treatment take 4-5 tbsp. tablespoons of crushed root in a bucket of water, boil and cool to medium temperature. A sheet folded four times is lowered into a warm broth of such a width that it covers the body from the armpits to the ankles of the legs, squeezed out (not dry), tightly wrap the sick person with it. A piece of sheet is laid between the legs so that the legs do not touch. Then the sick person is wrapped in a dry sheet with a thin woolen blanket in the same way. Sheets and a blanket are fixed with pins and the sick person is left for one and a half to two hours in bed. If the patient falls asleep, do not wake him up. The sheets in this case can be removed after his awakening. Treatment in this way is recommended to be used once a day (preferably at night), after 6 days – a break for a day. Compresses must be applied until the body, cleared of eczema, there will be no mild rash. After 1-2 days, the rash disappears, and the treatment can be considered complete. Continue it 2-3 weeks.
In the same way continuously relapsing rheumatism is treated. At the same time, remarkable results are observed: the disease does not recur.
Another original folk way to treat rheumatism. With burdock root ointment (preferably fresh), the patient rubs the affected joints, lies down on the bunk in a bath with gradually increasing steam, and there for half an hour drinks a warm decoction of burdock root in small sips (only 1 glass). After 15-20 minutes, profuse sweat appears on the body. The patient remains on the bunk until the body is dry; quenches thirst with whey from milk. Coming down from the bunk, he again rubs the joints with the same ointment, covers them with cotton wool or tow and bandages them. They do it at night. The treatment gives very good results.
The roots of the first year, when the plant does not yet have seeds, are edible. Therefore, in China and Japan, burdock is cultivated as a vegetable. The roots can be eaten raw, boiled, baked and fried, put in soup instead of potatoes, cook cutlets and cakes.
If the crushed root is boiled for 2 hours with sorrel, vinegar or sour milk, then a pleasant-tasting jam is obtained (with all this, inulin turns into sugar fructose).